Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Service announcement

A little bit of administratrivia, if you don’t mind.
Some of you might have noticed this button

Did you like this post?
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

appearing at the bottom right of a few recent posts.
As the button itself seems to suggest, it’s a way for anyone willing to show their appreciation for my blog by buying me a coffee once in a while – it’s basically the little brother of the button appearing in my sidebar, just beneath the search bar.

Curiosity-coffee-and-chocolate-three-things-you-need-to-succeed-as-a-writer.

The small button will not appear on all posts. I’m making it my policy to put it up only occasionally, and only on posts that exceed the 600 words in length – because over the 600 words mark I do need a coffee (or some tea, actually) to keep going these days … and you need some coffee too, probably, to keep reading.

As we are talking about the coffee button, I’d like to thank all those that bought me a coffee in the last days, and in particular the gentleman that doing so compared my writing to the works of David Drake: it is not often I get compared to a writer I really appreciate and respect, and this very kind compliment came to me in a very bad moment, and helped me a lot. Thank you!

And as I am at it, I’d also like to thank all those that have so far subscribed to the Karavansara mailing list. Thank you!

And I guess I’ll throw in a Thank you! for all my readers as well, because I like everybody to have a good time, and readers are really the reason a writer writes.

Thank you all,
ladies and gentlemen!

… and now, back to our regular posting schedule …

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The five most popular Karavansara posts in 2015

One of the frequent topics we bloggers debate here in the C Block of the blogsphere is how to gauge the success of a blog.

blog-writing-service1-820x400

Hits are the standard measure – how many people visited the blog through the week, the month, the year.
Comments are also an important parameter – because they measure engagement… that is, how involved those visitors were with the contents of the blog.
And then there’s the most popular posts – because they give you an idea of what people like about your blog.

So, here’s the Top Five posts for 2015, the ones that got the most views… Continue reading


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Stuff to do, and a call to action

call-to-actionYes, there’s going to be a call to action in this post.
That would be me asking you to speak up your mind.
But let me explain…

I was doing some math with my brother during lunch.
Looks like, in the next 8-12 months period I’ve ten projects slated, all of them in various stages of development.

Ten, not counting my blogs.
Now, if I don’t consider what’s already in the hands of my editors or publishers, we get down to seven, but that’s still a big number. Continue reading


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Coding & Writing or, last night as we compared scars…

I was talking about code, last night.
Code as in HTML, BASIC, COBOL, that sort of stuff.
Fact is, an ebook is basically a glorified HTML file – you can code it with an ASCII notebook.
You need the text, and a set of HTML tags.

As it usually happens, old code-monkeys slip in the classic mode of that scene from Jaws, where Brody, Quint and Hooper compare scars.

cabin-shot

Stories about static pages coded on the fly, physics simulation on old 5.1/4 floppy disks, ASCII tables and so on. And of course the discussion soon turned to “these kids today” that can do wonders with their big softwares, WYSIWYG graphical interfaces and whatnot, but when the going gets rough, they can’t get their hands on the code.
And my friend Hell (no, it’s not really his name) commented

It’s just like writing.

And you know – he’s right. Continue reading


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My blogging strategies (or lack thereof)

daily-blogging-beatOK, let’s say that blogging about blogging is something I try and avoid as much as I can: blogging, as any other form of writing, works best when it’s done, not when it’s talked about.
On the other hand, when we find something that works (or seems to), sharing the knowledge is a good idea.
We do not live in a vacuum.

So, here’s what I found out.

If you read a lot of those articles and handbooks about the best way to keep on blogging no matter what, and have tons of readers, millions of comments, make money like, in cartloads… When you go through those how-to lists and infographics, they all seem to agree on three points Continue reading


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Escape from the Old C Block

Last night my friend Claire launched her English-language blog – Scribblings.
Now Claire being Claire, I guess her new blog (she already runs one in Italian) has been meticulously planned, insightfully designed and thoroughly tested, the pros and cons carefully evaluated.
I point this out not to make fun of Claire (who, apart from being a fine writer and a dear friend, is also one of my gorgeous but unflinching editors); I’m pointing it out to explain that I think Claire started working on her new blog well before the summer, early in 2013.
Which is more or less when Karavansara was launched (with far less planning and thought, admittedly), and when a lot of other Italian bloggers I know started looking at the outer world – some opening a new weblog, others simply starting to post in English on their old platform, some alternating posts in Italian and English on their blogs, others posting bilingual content, experimentally. Continue reading